Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘St. Peter’s Square’

Pope Blessing

St Peter’s Square Pope Francis Blessing

There’s a new spirit in the Vatican.

Pope Francis is the current and the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.  Full disclosure:  I’m not catholic and this is not a campaign or propaganda tool.  Nor is this for the clickbait hunters and outrage merchants rubbing hands together with glee to pounce in the comment section.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Back in June (I blogged about it previously HERE) as part of the Worldwide Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary Celebration biker’s came to Rome and the Vatican as Pope Francis blessed thousands of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and their riders.  They were blessed in St Peter’s Square, and he graciously accepted two of the latest Harley-Davidson models, for the Vatican police force that the motor company donated.

HD 110th Celebration - Rome Recap

HD 110th Celebration – Rome Recap

The thundering motors on that nice morning nearly drowned out the Latin recitation of the “Our Father” prayer that accompanied Francis as he greeted the crowd before Sunday Mass.  Nuns and tens of thousands of faithful Catholics also took part in the multi-day event as an unrelated, two-day pro-life rally was scheduled during the same time.

Imagine for a moment the incongruity of the Harley crowd — known for the “Freedom” motto, outlaw image and adventuresome spirit — taking part in a solemn papal Mass to commemorate a 1995 encyclical on the inviolability of human life.

Yeah, it’s difficult to wrap your head around it.

At any rate, jump ahead a few months and basically the Pope sticks his finger in the eye of Harley-Davidson management and slams the the motorcycle lifestyle as an “intoxication of freedom.”

Speaking at a gathering last week, the Pope cautioned that “power and pleasure”, among other things, lead to God being “replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death.”

Catholic theologians are not the first and won’t be the last to condemn consumerism and wealth inequalities.  In fact, Pope Francis has encouraged clergy and religious to show humility in their choice of transportation.  In July, he told a group of seminarians and religious novices that he felt hurt when he sees a priest or a sister with a brand-new car.  Saying, “And, if you like that beautiful car, think about how many children are dying of hunger,” urging them to choose simpler transportation options.

The conclusion of all this is that the Bishop of Rome has now decided to auction off one of the bikes in order to raise funds for a Caritas homeless project,  the ‘Don Luigi di Lietro’ near the Termini station in Rome which offers food and shelter for up to 1,000 people every day.  I’m sure it will make for a generous gift to a worthy cause.

But, here is the question.  Was the Pope exploited by just another American company/event focused on a PR opportunity?  Or was he being opportunistic?

Photo courtesy of Stefano Rellandini / Reuters 

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Mark Hans-Richer presents leather jacket to Pope Francis

Mark-Hans Richer (H-D CMO) presents a leather jacket to Pope Francis

Getting “rubbed” by the pickpockets is common and expected in the city of “amore” where looking up at an artist masterpiece means your wallet just got lifted.  In fact, the Vatican tourist guides recently threatened to strike due to the inundation of pickpockets.

But, I’m talking about the Harley-Davidson 110th  Anniversary Celebration in Rome.  Unlike the U.S. celebration – where ticket prices range from $95 to over $500 for the unobtanium “Chrome” package – the entry fee in Rome is FREE of charge!  Free is a very good price and unexpected.

Information is starting to flow in about Harley-Davidson enthusiasts from across Europe who are flocking to the heart of Rome this week.   The celebration is occupying multiple sites in Central Rome, Vatican City and the Port of Ostia.  The entire length of Via Della Conciliazione, leading from St Peter’s Basilica to the River Tiber has been turned into a giant Harley-Davidson motorcycle park.  Yesterday’s start of the four-day event includes celebrations from the touristic Port of Ostia to a special motorcycle blessing inside St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City.

David Uhl's, Pope Francis and the Chance Encounter painting

David Uhl, Pope Francis and the “Chance Encounter” painting

Event photos are starting to appear on the web.  One is of David Uhl who painted the “Chance Encounter” canvas which depicts a 1948 Harley-Davidson FL Panhead bike parked in the San Pietro square, with a priest admiring it.  David Uhl presented it to Pope Francis during the weekly audience in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican on June 12, 2013.  According to a number of reports, the “Chance Encounter” will be available in postcard format, printed in a limited run of copies (in various sizes) and for collectors, three hand-signed and numbered canvas Fine Art sizes.

In addition, Harley Davidson has given Pope Francis two of its current motorcycles to mark the brand’s 110th anniversary.  On Sunday June 16th, hundreds will be allowed to park along the road leading to St Peter’s Square while the pontiff recites the Angelus prayer.  Between 1-2 thousand motorcyclists are expected to fill St Peter’s Square for the Pope’s blessing.

Just beware of Rome’s tiny thieves.

Photos taken at Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 12, 2013 and courtesy of REUTERS/Osservatore Romano.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: